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The scene opens up with Rich Rider, better known as the Man Called Nova, flying through the crisp blue skies of Manhattan when his helmet picks up a distress call from local authorities.
Arriving on the scene, Nova suddenly finds himself under heavy fire from several heavily armed and armored figures. Trying to figure out how to have his helmet tell him if he can absorb the blasts or not, Nova finally decides to fly right into one of the blasts. His body manages to absorb the blast, with minimal pain – but a large amount of nausea. Unleashing the absorbed blasts back on the three armored figures, when Nova looks again – all three figures are gone. Whether he had incinerated them or not, was unknown to him. Worried about being able to control his powers, Nova takes to the air and leaves the scene far behind him.
However, elsewhere – the three armored figures watch Nova fly off from a display screen and upon removing their armor reveal that all three are from the Shi’ar. They continue to watch Nova, before discussing how they would like to learn more about their target – Nova.
The three Shi’ar then begin to listen to and watch the holographic projection of the Nova Prime’s history – beginning with Centurion Nova-Prime, Rhomann Dey’s approach to Earth, after battling Warlord Zorr. The holographic projection goes on to show Richard Rider randomly obtaining the powers of Nova, from Rhomman Dey. It also goes on to describe Richard’s battles with the likes of Diamondhead, Condor and Powerhouse as well as his epic battle against Sphinx. It also goes on to say how Richard Rider gave up those powers, rather than remain on Xandar, and returned home. However, having had his powers for a year, he found that he had missed much in life – including his education. And when everyone else moved on, Richard Rider did not. His life had become one that seemed to lead into only trivial changes – including life at a fast food restaurant. That life, however, was quickly changed one day when an individual by the name of Dwayne Taylor, better known as Night Thrasher, threw Richard Rider from a high roof, banking on the fact that his Nova powers would activate again. He had assumed correctly. Richard Rider adopted the name Nova once more, but had no obligations to Xandar, as it had supposedly been destroyed by the space pirate, claiming to be the daughter of the mad Thanos – Nebula.
During his time with the New Warriors, he fought the likes of Firelord and Air Walker, which ironically led to the reformation of the Xandar StarCorp, with members coming from all over the universe.
The hologram ends there and the scene returns to Richard Rider.
As Nova, he returns back to the New Warriors base, The Crashpad, and decides to call Laura Dunham. After a brief talk with her, Nova takes to the skies again.
Elsewhere, the Shi’ar continue to monitor Nova’s movements. Nova returns to Uncle Fudge’s Ice Cream Parlor where he meets up with his old friends Bernie Dillow, Caps Cooper and Ginger Jaye. While speaking with them, the side wall is blown out and Richard Rider finds himself under attack from the same three armored people – the Shi’ar – once again. With minimal effort, as Nova – he defeats them – and removes their helmets – discovering they’re Shi’ar.
However, his victory is quickly turned around with the arrival of Gladiator, of the Imperial Guard. Nova attempts to fly at Gladiator, but bounces off his chest and crashes into a number of cars. Nova realizes that there’s too many innocent people present – so he takes off, forcing Gladiator to chase him down. In the air, Nova turns around and strikes Gladiator. However, Gladiator reacts by throwing an entire series of trains down unto Nova’s head. Nova manages to climb out of the wreckage, looking worse for the wear. He then grabs Gladiator’s cape and flies him into the sky. Gladiator tries to blast him down with powerful beams from the eyes – which Nova absorbs and dishes right back out in a blinding sphere of starlight.
However, it is not enough to defeat Gladiator.
In that instant, they are teleported aboard a ship where Nova is – surprisingly so – greeted by Adora, who informs him that this was all a test set up by Empress Lilandra, to ensure that Richard Rider was worthy of having so much power at his disposal. Garthan Saal, formerly Super Nova, is by Adora’s side, trying to explain things to Richard Rider, and explain that he should be proud of how he handled himself. Richard Rider exchanges a few words, then walks up to Gladiator and punches him directly in the face, knocking him down, and then takes off.
The issue ends with Nova arriving home, and he is welcomed by his family, who in turn invites all of Richard’s high school friends, along with the members of the New Warriors to celebrate Rich Rider’s twenty first birthday.